Monday, June 20, 2011

Burn it All Down

Some economist wanker is arguing that the Social Security benefit age should be lowered, and not raised - as the Democrats seem to favor.

A recent Harris poll found that 34 percent of Americans have nothing saved for retirement — not even a hundred bucks. In this lost decade, that percentage is sure to go up. At retirement the lucky few with a 401(k) typically have $98,000. As an annuity that’s about $600 a month — not exactly an upper-middle-class lifestyle. It’s too late for Congress to come up with some new savings plan — a new I.R.A. that grows hair, or something. There’s no time. We have to improve the one public pension program in place. Should we means-test it? No. I don’t care if they go out and buy bottles of Jim Beam: let our elderly have an occasional night out at a restaurant.

You have to keep in mind his frame of reference. He's concerned about old ladies, living in parks, surviving on cat food.

By now, we know that wealth is relative. So, what we want is the percentage of Americans with zero savings approaching retirement to be more along the lines of 50%, if not more. Remember - that the United States is the wealthiest nation on the planet, so if we have that kind of scenario, what does that mean?

That means that we have basically destroyed the middle class and you can fall in one bracket or the other. Instead of having an ordinary retirement, you can have an awesome one if you save up some money... because everyone else is basically fucked.

We want to throw Barack Obama out of office, and focus on corporate profits because our portfolios are tied to that. We want a tea bagging President that will well and truly fuck everything up in glorious fashion, while cutting taxes on the wealthy (how about zero percent?), and eliminate capital gains taxes, so that the profits that we're not actually having to do anything to get are not taxed.

Some of us will be much better off.

This is, apparently, what Americans want. They voted in a majority of Republicans in the last election, so apparently they desire to have no income when they reach an age that they are unable to work, and no savings to rely on. I think it's time we embrace that philosophy. If that's what they want, then by all means, give it to them.

The only thing that concerns me is figuring out how we spend every last nickle in retirement, timing it so all that's left over is enough money to cover funeral expenses. I'm terrified that I'll base that on whatever age my father dies at, and he's 84 now and shows no sign of imminent demise. I figured I'll base my mortality on his age at the end and add 20 years for advances in medical science. But if I live an extra 10 and have no money, that would suck.

And of course, John might outlive me. One never knows. When you consider the reality of the situation, it's always better to be the one that goes first.

Anyway.. the moral of the story is.. save up money, buy a house at a young age, pay off the mortgage, make sure that when you get old you have a free place to live because it's paid off.

/update

I am reminded that we'll likely always have dogs, and so we need to plan for the care of the dogs in a trust or something like that. We'll will enough money to take care of them to a relative and such. We'll figure something out.

And I guess I'm kinda thinking about things that could change substantially over time. We're not out of our 40s yet.

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